Sunday, 24 June 2012

Discipline, Creativity and the Arts!

I was watching Gustavo Dudamel, who conducts the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra, this morning and listening to him talk about the importance of discipline, creativity and the arts in releasing the magic in young people... all young people! 

The Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra first arrived in Britain with a bang in summer 2007. "I am not sure anything quite like Gustavo Dudamel and his extraordinary group of young musicians have ever hit the Proms before," wrote Andrew Clements. "Whatever you have read about the orchestra … can't convey the brilliance and disarming exuberance of their playing, or the importance of Dudamel's role in channelling that energy." The orchestra is, of course, the most famous product of Venezuela's radical music education system, the brainchild of José Abreu, who seeks to effect social change through involving Venezuela's most deprived communities in communal music making. Gustavo Dudamel has brought that approach to Sistema Scotland, the orchestra for children in Stirling's Raploch Estate, where four years ago only one child was learning to play a musical instrument. There are now 450 children who played this week with the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra at the opening of the Cultural Olympiad for the 2012 Olympic Games. 
The 'El Sistema' approach has reached over 400,000 young people in South America and watching him work with young people simply reminds us all what is possible with passion, energy, enthusiasm and belief! Interesting stuff considering the constant stream of announcements and the contradictory messages we keep getting from the DfE... someone should politely remind them that they are there to secure the best possible outcomes for all our young people! Remind them that the world doesn't break down into the clever people and the rest of us! Remind them that everyone has the potential to succeed given the necessary support and encouragement, an engaging and appropriate curriculum and intelligent accountability and assessment. Remind them that the challenge is about how we develop schools and learning environments that engage, enthuse and challenge all our learners to release their potential. And send them tickets for the concert these ordinary, yet extraordinary, young people are doing in Caracas!

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